Background & Disclaimer
No one can accurately forecast the future. But it makes strategic sense for an industry to “peer over the horizon” and examine ‘what might be’ when it comes to the potential impacts of possible future climates.
There are a range of futures that may eventuate. This project was not about trying to forecast one future, but examined a range of climate / weather scenarios. It then modelled and quantified the potential impacts a changing climate may have at a local and farm enterprise level
The project combined 3 major sets of information:
- Pasture and livestock production data from local farmers
- Models to predict livestock production and profitability
- Future weather scenarios at a local level in 2030 and beyond
Current pasture and livestock production models are sophisticated and have been shown to be reasonably accurate.
While there seems to be some confidence about changes to temperature and C02 levels in the future, rainfall (average, timing and intensity) is far more difficult to predict (Example data for Lismore).
Because no one can accurately predict the future, relativities and trends are far more important than absolute values. Importantly, because of the uncertainty on what might, or might not happen, producers should not rush out and make changes to their farm management practices as a result of this research.
The key issue is to make farmers and farm advisors aware that there are now tools and people that are available to assist them to look at these possible scenarios – and what they may be able to do about it.